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Tuesday 25 July 2023

AIM Corp.

Variable Pressure Three-Stud Style A&S Clutch  

Huntington Beach, California based Harley performance clutch specialist AIM Corp.'s Variable Pressure (VP) three-stud style Assist and Slipper (A&S) clutch with its slide weights will create a claimed 40% more clamping force over stock at 4,000 rpm, raising the overall torque capacity to 120+ ft-lbs.

The easier pull is 20% lighter than the stock Harley Big Twin clutch during low rpm on 2018+ M-8 Softails. The kit handles up to 105 ft-lbs of torque with the optional soft coil spring kit. With the OEM 2018 clutch spring it can handle up to 120 ft-lbs torque.

The VP-SDR ST will fit behind the stock primary cover with no modifications. It will be additionally available soon with larger weight design to provide increased clamping force overall (when used with 1/4" primary cover spacer). 

It is available in two versions - the VP-SDR ST and VP-SDR ST high performance kit. The kit ships with a VP wear shim and mounting hardware. It requires the removal of the primary cover for installation. Options include AIM Corp.'s high performance spring setup for a torque capacity of around 150+ ft-lbs of torque.



Polaris Q2 - Over 50% On Road Retail Sales Increase Drives +14% Overall Powersports Growth

Polaris Industries has reported financial and operational highlights for the second quarter of 2023, including sales of $2,217m, up 7% compared to last year. 

The primary sales drivers were said to be "favorable ship volumes, product mix and net pricing partially offset by higher finance interest."

Polaris reports market share gains in Off Road, On Road and Marine segments with overall powersports retail sales for the quarter up 14% versus last year - driven by a more than 50% increase in On Road, as well as double-digit percentage growth in Off Road.

North America unit retail sales for Indian Motorcycle were up over 40%. "North America unit retail sales for the comparable motorcycle industry were up low-single digits percent."

However, On-Road PG&A sales decreased 12%, with the benefits of the unit sales volume increase partially offset by higher finance interest. The achieved gross profit margin performance (22.8%) was driven by favorable product mix, lower logistics costs and higher volumes.

Polaris CEO Mike Speetzen is quoted as saying: "The Polaris team continued to execute on our 2023 plans with this quarter's performance being a strong reflection of our ongoing focus and dedication. 

"Improved demand and industry-leading products drove retail growth across our Off Road and On Road segments in the quarter, including a 50% increase in On Road retail sales compared to the prior year. 

Internationally, Indian Motorcycles continues to build momentum. The recent Indian Riders Fest in the Czech Republic (June 2023) saw of thousands of Indian enthusiasts riding from more than 20 different countries for what is believed to have been the first ever (and certainly the largest ever) independent Indian motorcycle enthusiasts rally in the world.

"Marine sales declined amidst a softer pontoon industry, but the team worked hard to gain modest share in the quarter. We are raising our full-year sales guidance given the strong performance in the first half of the year in Off Road, which is somewhat offset by a decrease in our Marine guidance, given a weaker outlook on the industry." 

Of the reported worldwide sales of $2,217m (up 7% versus the second quarter of 2022, North America sales of $1,883m represented 85% of total company sales and an 8% increase from $1,748m in 2022. International sales of $333m represented 15% of total company sales and increased 6% versus the second quarter of 2022. 

"Total company sales growth in the second quarter of 2023 was driven by higher shipment volumes, primarily driven by Off Road and Indian Motorcycle, as well as favorable net pricing."

Gross profit margin decreased 22 basis points to 22.8% for the second quarter. Adjusted gross profit margin (also 22.8%) decreased 21 basis points "primarily driven by higher finance interest and warranty costs, as well as foreign exchange headwinds, partially offset by favorable net pricing."

Operating expenses were $330m in the second quarter of 2023 compared to $292m in the second quarter of 2022 due to higher marketing, general and administrative expenses, as well as higher R&D expenses. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, of 14.9% were up 74 basis points in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the second quarter of 2022.

Off Road segment results were also primarily driven by higher volume partially offset by higher finance interest. However, Off Road PG&A sales increased by 17%. Polaris North America ORV unit retail sales were up 14%. Estimated North America industry ORV unit retail sales were up high-single digits percent.

Marine segment sales results were primarily driven by softer demand and unfavorable product mix, partially offset by positive net pricing.

Second quarter reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was $2.32, down 1% versus last year; adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was $2.42, flat versus last year. Second quarter net income from continuing operations attributable to Polaris of $134m decreased five percent. 

Polaris has upgraded its 2023 sales outlook by 3% to 6% versus its previous outlook of flat to up 5% versus 2022. 


Harley-Riders Rock Budapest!

Words and pics by Horst Roesler,

Harley-Davidson is claiming an attendance of "over 100,000 participants from more than 50 countries" for the European leg of its 120th anniversary celebrations in Budapest, Hungary, staged June 22 to 25 - some three weeks before the Milwaukee 'Homecoming'.

Slated as what observers are saying was a long four-day festival of all things 'Bar 'n Shield', Horst Roesler reports that festival fatigue had set in by the time the final afternoon came round.

"For the visitors, the 4-day event at Budapest would have been an enjoyable and well-organized event with music and stunt entertainment and a good parade - albeit without any particular single 'Highlight' to define the event as unique, aside from weather that lurched repeatedly from biblical grade thunderstorms to blistering heat. 

"The modern sports stadium environment Budapest's Puskás Aréna Park around Hungary's largest soccer stadium provided superb facilities as there never was a shortage of toilets or other facilities, and the facility afforded comfort on a hot weekend in the air-conditioned show hall.

The "Custom" component of the event was divided into three sections, the indoor Custom Gallery as part of the indoor hall exhibition, Friday's Ride-In Bike Show and the Industry display booths with a high-quality display of great modified and customized Harleys from all over Europe. 

Hosting the press attendance - some 230+ asked for credentials for the event - went smoothly in terms of getting the credentials, even though confirmations came late, but getting information or photographic access to key main stage events proved to be more difficult than at other and previous H-D events. 

Visitors complained of long lines, unnecessarily long lines in my view, and Harley's appointed organizing sub-contractor committed that most heinous of event 'schoolboy/girl errors' by running out of merchandise at the Rally Packs and Merch retail points. 

By the final day the public and visiting Harley riders had almost completely vanished from the event site, starting to pack at 3 pm and the custom bike show disappearing by 4-5 pm. Which is understandable at an event in a far eastern part of Europe.  

However, Harley report that the faithful were offered a choice of more than 50 bands on five stages on four evenings - including international acts such as Airbourne and Wolfmother from Australia, Larkin Poe from the USA, The Picture Books from Germany, British rock band The Darkness and Glenn Hughes performing classic Deep Purple as the top act on Sunday.

VIPs included Jochen Zeitz, Chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson, and Karen and Bill Davidson, great-granddaughter and great-grandson of William A. Davidson, one of the company's four founders. To the applause of appreciative spectators, more than 7,000 motorcycles rode in the parade through downtown Budapest. 

There was, of course, a large exhibition of the new Harley-Davidson models and several classic Milwaukee bikes, including some of the Motor Company's most important creations. As part of this expo, the new CVO Road Glide and CVO Street Glide models were shown for the first time in Europe. 

More than 70 Harley-Davidson bikes were test-ridden on the streets of the Hungarian capital and in the surrounding area. Special options included two-hour Pan America on- and off-road rides and free tours of up to 300 kilometers in length, led by experienced regional road captains, who took them to some of the most scenic spots in northern Hungary. A British visitor won the main raffle prize - a strictly limited Heritage Classic Anniversary edition.

Countless custom bikes were on display, and on Friday the most creative conversions from eight countries competed in the Harley staff judged ride-in-custom bike show supported by Metzeler. 

More than 50 custom bikes from all over Europe - show winners and newly built Harley-based projects - were invited by Custom Gallery Coordinator Ondrej Hruza from Czech Republic. Ondrej was also responsible for the excellent 115th Anniversary custom bike display in Prague five years ago and had stepped in at a late stage to plan and organize the Custom Gallery. 

One "unofficial" highlight of the first day was Custom Chrome Europe's unveiling of a CPR-built "Speed Bob", when Ivan Vukoja, the Custom Chrome Europe Team and the future owner of the themed custom Street Bob, uncovered the stylish creation at the CCE booth just next to the event's main stage. 

Friday's "Ride In Bike Show" classes included "Classic", "Sport", "Tourer", "Cruiser", "Radical Custom" and a very creative selection of custom Pan Americas populating the "Advanced Off Road" class. The "Radical Custom" allowed almost everything, even off-brand engines.

Ivan Vukoja, builder of the CCE/CPR "Speed Bob" took second prize in the "Cruiser" class and the "People's Choice" award - quite a success for the Croatia-based builder who had only finished the bike that week! A RevTech powered custom bike by Dadak Custom won "Radical Custom" and the "Best of Show" award went to a stylish Race Bagger built by Marco Sonnino of Italy. 

The Awards Ceremony for the four-day indoor Custom Gallery took place on the main stage on the Saturday evening, and was compered by AMD Approved Custom Show Coordinator and World Championship ambassador Onno Wieringa, with Karen and Bill Davidson making the presentations.

With many of Europe's parts and accessory manufacturers, distributors and dealers - independent custom shops as well as authorized dealers - information on customizing options was widely available; the 120th Anniversary brought the "main players" of the European custom scene to Hungary to meet riders from all over Europe. 

Leading vendor professionals judged the prestigious Indoor Custom Gallery Bike Show. The selected jury of experienced custom bike specialists from the industry and press had the honor of selecting the top-five bikes with vouchers vouchers of € 2,000, 3,000 and 5,000 were handed out to the top three places.  

The variety of styles was outstanding and also covered a long timeline of show-winning customs that Ondrej Hruza had pulled together. This trophy ceremony took place inside the H-D display hall in front of the assembled customizers and exhibitors.

The "Public Choice" was a Walz/Augustin Motorcycles "Prototyp" Dragstyle Lowrider featuring lots of carbon and gold plating with a Rotrex centrifugal supercharged S&S engine. Augustin Motorcycles is the German company that keeps the tradition of the original "Walz Hardcore" custom bikes alive, and also had their own Augustin-branded show bikes on display.

The judges' choices saw Peter Penzenstadler (Penz Custombikes, Austria) in fifth with his sheet metal Bagger creation "Razzle Dazzle", one of the few Bagger type customs in the display, with "Arcadia" from DMC Toys 4 Men from Italy in fourth.

The top-three awards came with a prize pot of € 10,000, and € 2,000 of that was handed to Hazard Motorcycles for its great Carlo Riva and Ferruccio Lamborghini inspired "Ghisarama" in third place - created as a tribute to the traditional "Riva" luxury boat manufacturer. 

Second place and a pretty extreme custom was "History" by Vito Klemencic of VK Custom Works from Slovenia. His Flathead-based masterpiece was especially created for the 120th Anniversary and was more "Art-Bike" than meant to be ridable. A tribute to the history of Harley-Davidson as well as to the history of customizing, the extreme Chopper featured numerous "one-off" details and ideas. 

Top honors and €  5,000 went to Italian customizer Mirko Perugini of "Gallery Motorcycles" fame - his 1920 J motor was enclosed by one of his high-class one-off rolling chassis with unique suspension and outstanding craftsmanship. Finished just two days before the show, the bike is fully dedicated to 120 years of Harley-Davidson, including the 103-year-old IoE engine. 

Summing up the weekend, Kolja Rebstock, Regional Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is quoted as saying: "This was an incredible festival. It underlined the enormous appeal of Harley-Davidson and perfectly embodied the Harley lifestyle: we're about much more than just motorcycles. On behalf of Harley-Davidson EMEA, I would like to thank the organizers of the event, the Sportmarketing Agency Kft., the city of Budapest and of course the people of Hungary for supporting our synthesis of bikes, music and entertainment and for giving fans from all over the world a warm welcome. Our next major European event will take place in Faak, Austria, where we will welcome all bikers from September 5-10 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of European Bike Week."

Indoor Custom Gallery Bike show

Top honors and € 5,000 went to Italian customizer Mirko Perugini of "Gallery Motorcycles" fame - his 1920 J motor was enclosed by one of his high-class one-off rolling chassis with unique suspension and outstanding craftsmanship. Finished literally two days before the show the bike is fully dedicated to 120 years of Harley-Davidson, including the 103-year-old IoE engine. 

Second place and €3,000 went to "History" by Vito Klemencic of VK Custom Works from Slovenia. His Flathead-based masterpiece was especially created for the 120th Anniversary and was more "Art-Bike" than meant to be ridable. A tribute to the history of Harley-Davidson as well as to the history of customizing, the extreme Chopper featured numerous "one-off" details and ideas. 

€2000 was handed to Hazard Motorcycles for their great Carlo Riva and Ferruccio Lamborghini inspired "Ghisarama" in third place - created as a tribute to the traditional "Riva" luxury boat manufacturer. 

"Arcadia" from DMC Toys 4 Men from Italy came fourth.

Peter Penzenstadler (Penz Custombikes, Austria) came fifth with his sheet metal Bagger creation "Razzle Dazzle".

The "Public Choice" was a Walz/Augustin Motorcycles "Prototyp" Dragstyle Lowrider featuring lots of carbon and gold plating with a Rotrex centrifugal supercharged S&S engine motor. 

Ride in Bike Show

The "Best of Show" award went to a stylish Race Bagger built by Marco Sonnino of Italy. 

Ivan Vukoja, Croatia, builder of the CCE / CPR "Speed Bob" won the public prize and took second prize in the "Cruiser" class. 

A RevTech powered custom bike by Dadak Custom won the Radical Custom class.

News Briefs

Honda's Q4 and full year 22/23 financial results (the 12 months to March 31, 2023) put motorcycle segment revenue at +33.00%. Worldwide PTW unit shipments of Honda badged machines from its wholly owned and JV/subsidiary factory network were up over +10% at over 18m. Sales in Asian markets were up by 10.4% (16.1m units), Indonesia was +15.7% (approx. 4.5m units); India was +16% (some 2.4m units). European sales were +9.5% (347,000 units) and North America was +5% (459,000 units). Sales in Japan were essentially flat year-on-year at some 246,000 units. Operating profit from Honda's motorcycle business segment was up by +56.9%, with operating margin of some 16.8% (14.3% in 21/22). For 23/24 Honda is forecasting growth of around 25% for European unit sales to over 430,000.

Kawasaki's Q4 and full year 22/23 financial results (the 12 months to March 31, 2023) put motorcycle segment revenue at +32%, with worldwide unit shipments +13% (555,000 unts) within which 'developed market' shipments were +13.9% (237,000 units). The United States saw a 38.4% increase in unit shipments at around 119,000 units, but Europe was down by -5.5% at 67,000 units. Sales in Japan and Australia were also down. Units in 'emerging markets' were up by 12.4% (318,000). The Philippines were up (+29.8%/209,000 units), Indonesia was down (-4.4%/43,000 units); China was down (-18.9%/ 30,000). Powersports segment operating profit was +90.7%. ATV/UTV and PWC unit shipments were +7.4% (87,000 units). For its 23/24 year Kawasaki forecasts 7% less inventory for its 'developed markets'. 

The AMA has announced Nick Harris as its new Government Relations Director, as it "restructures and evolves its Government Relations Department to better serve members across the nation." As part of the evolution of its lobby efforts, the AMA will additionally bring on board an experienced Washington Representative to monitor and influence policies and programs at the federal level.

For its Q4 and full year 22/23 financial results (the 12 months to March 31, 2023), Suzuki is reporting global sales of 1.859m units, which is +13.4% (+220,000 YoY). Sales in Europe were 31,000 units (+9.1%/+3,000 units YoY); North America was +11.5% (+3,000 units YoY at 32,000); Japan down by -14.6% (-8,000 units YoY at 46,000), with Asia +15.4% (+204,000 units YoY at 1.528m). India is its largest Asian market by far, at 740,000 units (+21.4%), followed by China at 430,000 units (+6.8%) and Philippines at 197,000 units (22.5%). Latin America was worth 198,000 units for Suzuki in 22/23 (+17.5%). Total Suzuki production (domestic and all international facilities, including JVs and 3PP) was 1.914m units (+7.3%/130,000 units). Total sales revenue from consolidated net sales (all factories) was 333.3bn yen, which was +31.4% YoY, with Europe +33.1% at 39.2bn yen.

For Q1 of its 2023 financial year (January to December) - Yamaha is the only one of the Japanese manufacturers to run an annual calendar financial year - Yamaha states that "demand for motorcycles is strong" with unit sales in all major markets increasing - despite continuing shortage of inventory in the Premium Scooters segment - one where Yamaha is particularly strong. Total global unit sales for Q1 were +112% at 1.274m units for 347.9bn yen. Sales in Europe were +107% for Q1 YoY at 55,000 units and 52.7bn yen (+130%). Sales in North America were +191% (26,000) units; Japan was +90% (21,000 units); Asia was +114% (1.028bn units). Total 'developed market' unit sales (Europe, USA and Japan) were +113% for Q1, with overall inventory as at March 31st described as being lower than optimum levels to meet demand.

Central Powersports Distribution of Watertown, SD has completed the latest stage of its transfer of operations, moving all Rieju and GasGas Legacy parts to its new office and warehouse location in Marshall, TX. CPD specializes in importing motorcycles from Europe. In addition to Rieju and Torrot in Spain, CPD imports SWM select models from Italy and the Portuguese AJP line. 

Ducati has introduced its first carbon-frame electric mountain bike (e-MTB), the 2024 Powerstage RR Limited Edition. Based on a Shimano EP801 drive unit, premium features include Öhlins front and rear suspension.  

GM and Samsung are to JV a $3bn EV battery cell plant investment - likely in Indiana. This follows a January announcement that GM had decided not to move ahead with a fourth such facility in Indiana in partnership with LG. The facility is scheduled to begin operations in 2026, creating 1,700 manufacturing jobs. 

The MIC says that space at the 2024 AIMExpo (Las Vegas, February 6-8) is selling at a "record pace". As at late June it reports that the "tremendous momentum from this year's AIMExpo has given us a boost in planning for 2024," with "more than a dozen OEs (including 10-year exhibitor Suzuki), three distributors including Tucker Powersports and Parts Unlimited, and over 175 companies already committed. This far out from the show, we've sold more floor space than we ever have during the past decade." 

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,, Cycle World,


Daniels Strikes Back at Bridgeport Half-Mile

On a weekend that saw a full set of race disciplines (SuperTwins, Singles, Hooligans and Royal Enfield's Build. Train. Race. program), rising star Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) claimed a cathartic victory in the Drag Specialties Bridgeport Half-Mile (July 20, 2023) as Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made an unforgettable debut at Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, New Jersey.

Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle

Daniels’ triumph came by a scant 0.095 seconds over his title rival, Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750), with JD Beach third (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Davis Fisher fourth (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750), and Brandon Robinson fifth (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) - all of whom were in contention for the win at various stages.

The victory couldn’t have been better timed for the Estenson Racing ace, as he simultaneously halted Mees’ momentum and reclaimed the title lead, if only by two points (280-278). The win was Daniels’ first-ever Half-Mile triumph in the premier class, moving him to within a TT win of the Grand Slam. It also saw him up his season-long podium streak to 13 in the process.

The top ten was dominated by six FTR750 riders, with three on Yamaha's MT-07 and one on the KTM 490 Duke with Briar Bauman sixth, Vanderkooi seventh, Wiles in eighth, Ben Lowe in ninth and Cameron Smith 10th (No. 34 Martin Trucking/Fredericktown Yamaha MT-07).

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) continued the difficult start he is having to his AFT career, scoring a third Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER victory in just 14 attempts.

His teammate Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) was second, with Max Whale in third (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), to make it two Aussies in the top three. 

Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) executed an impressive climb of his own, battling his way from the LCQ and an early 13th-place position to round out the top five. Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) was fourth, ahead of Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) in fifth.

The top ten was dominated by four Honda CRF450Rs, with three KTM 450 SX-F riders (plus a Husqvarna FC450 - essentially a badged KTM 450 SX-F), and saw the two Yamaha YZ450Fs in first and second.

Next Up: July 30 will see the series head to Illinois for the Peoria TT (Round 14). That was due to be the first of what would have been three consecutive TT races, but instead the annual trip to South Dakota at Sturgis Rally time will see a Black Hills Half-Mile at Black Hills Speedway replacing the originally planned Buffalo Chip TT on Sunday, August 6. 

The final TT of the year will wrap up the West Coast race program at Castle Rock, Washington State, on August 12, with the season then reaching its crescendo with the two Springfield Mile races on September 2 and 3 (Rounds 17 and 18).

BMW Motorrad

Winning R 18 custom competition dealers to be showcased at BMW Motorrad Welt Opening

Using R 18 models as a starting point, a BMW Motorrad dealer customizing competition started in April this year and continues to 29 September 2023, with 150 dealers from 18 countries having already confirmed participation. 

Four models of the conversion-friendly R 18 architecture can be used by customizers - the R 18, R 18 Classic, R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental. 

A Grand World Finale will be staged at the opening of BMW Motorrad Welt in Berlin on 29 September 2023. The two best custom motorcycles from each participating country will be selected at national contests having been staged between 15 May-16 July 2023. These bikes will be eligible to participate in an international semi-final (31 July-14 August 2023), in which six motorcycles will be selected by a jury of experts and one by means of a public vote for the grand world final. 

BMW Motorrad dealers from the following countries are confirmed - Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the USA.

The panel of six expert judges will include renowned customizers who are highly regarded within the custom motorcycle community such as Thor Drake (founder of See See Motorcycles, Portland, Oregon); Michael Lichter (world leading custom motorcycle photographer and event curator, Boulder, Colorado); Roland Sands (motorcycle racer and designer, Long Beach, California); J. Shia (internationally recognized award-winning motorcycle builder and designer, Madhouse Motors, Boston, Massachusetts); Giuseppe Roncen (founder and editor of Lowride magazine in Italy) and Yuichi Yoshizawa (custom builder and co-owner of Custom Works Zon, Japan).

Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Sturgis Buffalo Chip Partners with Bell for First Helicopter Rally

Bell Helicopters and Sturgis Buffalo Chip have announced plans to host the first Helicopter Rally during the 2023 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (August 4-13, 2023). This will be the second year Bell will exhibit and provide demonstration flights in the Bell 407GXi and Bell 429, operating out of the Buffalo Chip venue.

The collaboration was celebrated during HAI's Heli-Expo event at the Bell booth with the reveal of a custom Indian motorcycle, built by Lloyd'z Garage, that will be auctioned during the Sturgis Rally in support of the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride, an event that benefits South Dakota Special Olympics - Rapid City Flame. 

Rod Woodruff in a Bell helicopter at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip: "The Sturgis Buffalo Chip has been the home for a whole different kind of chopper for the past 43 years, and we genuinely look forward to Bell owners visiting us again during the Sturgis Rally."

"Bell is always looking at ways to provide customers, operators and enthusiasts with unique experiences through flight and event activation," said Lane Evans, Managing Director, North America. "With more than 500,000 people from around the world participating every year at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Bell is thrilled to host the first-ever Helicopter Rally for enthusiasts and operators at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip."

In 2023, Bell is hosting private owners of Bell helicopters to join the rally action with a Sturgis Buffalo Chip VIP experience for a fleet of lucky pilots and their passengers. Last year, Bell brought a company helicopter to the Chip and enjoyed success connecting with customers and celebrities. This year, the iconic American civilian and military supplier is stepping up the program and hosting its top customers at the Chip, as the venue grows and hosts all sorts of enthusiasts.

"Hosting Bell last year was a great opportunity for our top-shelf rally clients to visit with Bell," says Chip President Rod "Woody" Woodruff. "The Sturgis Buffalo Chip has been the home for a whole different kind of chopper for the past 43 years, and we genuinely look forward to Bell owners visiting us again during the Sturgis Rally."

Bell's presence at the Buffalo Chip will offer attendees demonstration flights in the Bell 407 and Bell 429, limited experiences, VIP access to Buffalo Chip concerts and other premium events. 

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Bell is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., and boasts some 25 percent of its workforce having served in the military.

Rob's Dyno Service

New 'Bagg'r Rack' - Saddle Bag Storage System

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ideas. Everyone struggles with trying to keep hard bags safe and pristine when they are off bike, whether in the dealership, custom workshop or riders de-mounting their bags at home. Everyone comes up with the easiest way they can to keep hard bags safe, but everyone has also been caught out at least once at some stage.

Enter Rob's Dyno Service of Gardner, Massachusetts (performance fanatic Rob Swartz), with the simplest of solutions - but one that to our knowledge hasn't readily available as an order item before.

The new 'Bagg'r Rack', created by Rob's Dyno Service, is designed to keep bike bags free of scratches and securely mounted. It can be used as a free-standing rack on the shop floor or mounted to a wall for increased protection. 

The Bagg'r Rack also makes transporting multiple bikes easier - it can be mounted on the wall of a trailer to hold the bags while traveling, and allow for more space when transporting multiple bikes. Plus, it can be used in-store to display custom bag designs, paint and accessories. 

It works with side covers from all touring bikes made between 1995 to present. "Take advantage of this great new product to keep your or your customer's bags safe and scratch-free," says Rob. "With its user-friendly design and unbeatable protection, 'Bagg'r Rack' is sure to become an essential part of your workshop and biking experience."


Wood Performance

Wood Performance - 'Platinum' Series M-8 and Twin Cam Lifters

Owned and operated by two-time NHRA National Record Holder Bobby Wood, Cropwell, Alabama based Wood Performance makes the proud boast that it is the leader in high performance dyno-tested carbs (the popular "King Carburetors") and the innovator of the Andrews Products manufactured, Wood Performance specification 'Knight Prowler' short duration, high lift Street Cams for H-D performance engines.

The latest addition to the Wood Performance portfolio of 'Competition Smoking' performance components are the new patent pending 'Platinum' series directional lifters for M-8 and Twin Cam applications using the Knight Prowler specifications (WADL-9012).

Featuring dual float hydro dynamic (instead of static drag) bearings, they deliver a claimed 300 percent increase in active bearing surface and a 400 percent increase in yield strength compared to the more commonly used needle, brass or bronze bushings.

Wood Performance has partnered with Hylift Johnson, a division of Topline Automotive Engineering Inc. to produce these multi-lift high performance lifters.

Manufactured from proprietary heat-treated material, the unique Wood Performance lifter design features direct shot EDM technology oil channels with dual oil ports to feed the dual floating bearing and .080 of additional lifter travel.

These 'Platinum' series lifters have been rigorously road and dyna tested for 40+ hours at 3,000+ RPMs for over 3.6 million lifter cycles. They have been tested and are rated at 800 lb of open valve spring pressure (over 2.9 million lbs total testing) and post-test inspected to reveal zero wear.


Zodiac International

Zodiac International - Additions

Dakota Information Centers

This popular, bar-mount Dakota Digital instrument system is loaded with features and is highly customizable. Integrated pushbutton switches allow for accessible operation, even with gloves. User-selectable RGB Lighting allows color selections to suit the bike and theme, movable displays allow the rider to place readouts in a variety of display locations, for several of the displays - there is even a choice digital or bar-graph style readout. Riders can also select between Imperial or Metric displays. 

Dakota Digital Information Centers have indicator lamps for left and right turn signal, check engine, low oil, security, high beam and neutral. Standard readouts include speedometer, tachometer, odometer, two trip meters, service meter, hourmeter, voltmeter, gear position and clock. Also present are high speed recall, high RPM recall, 0-60 time, quarter mile time and speed. 

Fuel level shows (except for 2007-2017 V-Rod) when the required tank mounted sensor is used. Air suspension pressure, oil temp and oil pressure can be shown when sensors for these are purchased separately. Handlebar mounts are also separately available. The Spike style measures 6 1/2" x 2" (16.5 x 5 cm), Oval style is 5 7/8" x 2" (14.9 x 5 cm).

Rick's Axle and Bolt Caps

These easy-install, German made Rick's covers add a super clean look on all axle and significant mounting bolts for M-8 Softails. Complete kits include seven covers in total: two for the front wheel axle, two for the swingarm pivot, two for the rear wheel axle and one for the upper rear shock absorber mounting bolt. 

They are available in a choice of the 'Smooth' or 5-teeth 'Premium' design. Sets are available in smooth black for left and right.



VG Classic Replica Knucklehead and Panhead Hardtail Frames

These V-G Classic, Dutch made replica frames feature perfect copies from the stock steering heads to the lugs and joints - all cast from Nodulax steel and bearing the authentic numbering. All other brackets, mounts and stops are exact copies from the original parts used in these years too. 

Cast, machined steel and sheet metal parts are welded to seamless thick-walled tubing by hand in jigs that are proven to give a perfect result. There are options available for years 1936 through 1957 in 25-, 28-, 29- and 30-degrees rake.


Tuesday 18 July 2023

Italian Bike Week

Italian Bike Week

After huge international success for the first edition last year, the Italian Bike Week - a classic late summer bike fest - returns to the shores of northeastern Italy again from the September 14-17 2023.

Organized by the owners of Biker Fest International (BFI), the AMD Approved Custom Show for Italy and the publishers of leading Italian custom motorcycle lifestyle magazine Bikers Life, this year Micke Persello and his team are placing a special focus on the fast-growing on the adventure bike and off-road scenes.

The venue will again be Lignano Sabbiadoro (UD), north of Venice, on Italy's Adriatic coast, where BFI is staged in May each year, and just a two hour back-roads ride from Lake Faak in Austria where Harley's European Bike Week is being staged during the week before the Italian Bike Week.

Last year, the event's debut attracted nearly 40,000 attendees (the 37th Biker Fest in May this year drew a record crowd of 120,000 people), so the venue and the organizers clearly "have the chops" where being able to draw a crowd is concerned.

The model that the Persello father and son team are replicating for Europe is that of the 'Daytona Bike Week' in Florida in March, which is paired with 'Biketoberfest' at the end of the season in October each year.

The plans for 2023 include a 155,000 sq m (1,670,000 sq ft) off-road arena as the center of the action, with trails dedicated to motocross and enduro - the longest one (7 km/4 miles) running along the track of the legendary 12 Hours of Enduro's special stage.

The demo ride area, which saw more than 4,000 test rides at May's BFI, will also get a dirt bike make-over for the event, with the whole event being geared to attract off-road and ADV enthusiasts as well as the BFI's custom crowd.

The Notturna Tassellata, a nighttime experience on 350 km of unpaved roads to Slovenia and back, and the Adventure Rides, the 70 km exploratory tours organized by MV Adventure, will also take place on on/off trails during the four days of the event.  

The Custom motorcycle scene roots that BFI brings to Italian Bike Week will again see the Luna Park Area, with its stalls, ethnic and street food stands, live music and exhibitors, open its doors to all types of bikers, embracing the passion for two and four wheels in all its forms. 

On the evening of Saturday, the Luna Park's parking will turn in the 'starting grid' for a spectacular Saturday Light Parade - an impressive event-in-the-event that will flood the streets of Lignano with thousands of motorcycles. The day after, the same area will be the meeting point of the U.S. Car On The Beach 2023, the second edition of the huge American Car scene's late-summer gathering, where the sound of V8s will mix with the V-twins.

Comment by Editor-in-Chief, Robin Bradley

European Union is Now Endorsing eFuels as a 'Future Facing' Transport Solution

In terms of the long-term future of the global Powered Two-Wheeler (PTW) industry, there are several very important stories circulating at this time. One of them is the approval by the European Union of eFuels as part of its post-2035 carbon emission-free vision for the future of transport.

My take on such matters has always been that the future could not be one of a 'mono' solution, a one size fits all transport needs future; but that, literally and figuratively, it would have to be a hybrid future - a mixed portfolio of application-specific solutions.

Battery power could work for some forms of transport - automotive maybe, especially in urban and peri-urban environments, definitely for delivery vehicles and vans, probably road freight too; but shipping, air transport, long distance driving, motorcycles, space flight - these would all need application-specific solutions. A multiverse of power options and solutions.

My 'biggie' has always been the advantages that so-called synthetic gasoline can bring to the table, especially to our table here in the motorcycle industry. Those advantages run from being able to continue to use existing powerplants and model ranges, right through to not having to demolish and rebuild the world's gas stations and related infrastructure, with all the concrete and steel and other emissions-generating waste product and capital investment that would require.

Synthetic gasoline is, of course, only one of several forms of eFuel, and the term itself is slightly misleading. The hydrocarbons are the same as in present day crude oil, and the process of exploding them to release motive force is the same. The hydrocarbons themselves don't care whether they've been pumped up a tube from 10,000 feet below ground, or sea level, or have been cracked from other readily available surface level raw ingredients such as air and water.

“this is not trivial”

"All" that is required is to combine Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) and Hydrogen (H₂) in such a way that the resulting synthetic fuel, which can be gasoline, diesel, gas, or even kerosene, produces more energy than is costs (thus obeying the laws of thermodynamics), using input energy that doesn't itself create carbon emissions in its production.

There are three basic strategies for producing petrochemicals without fossil fuels: using plant materials, using recycled plastics, or through direct production from carbon dioxide and water. The most commonly used raw material at this time is biomass.

However, because synthetic gasoline can be manufactured by simply combining raw material carbon dioxide and hydrogen to create hydrocarbons (petrosynthesis) the end result can also be achieved by direct air capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the electrolysis of water to obtain hydrogen.

Various global corporations (such as Bosch, Siemens, Audi and others) have already invested billions into trying to solve the energy intensity issues that surround the cost-effective volume production of enough 'synth gas' to replace the volume of fuel needed at existing (or even lower) pump prices.

There are pilot production plants at work (most notably in Chile and Australia) that have moved production volume a next level up the scale, and that are using solar or hydroelectric energy to produce the electricity they need to drive production. 

But there is another foot on the hosepipe that has recently become manifest, namely the colossal level of capital already invested in battery power and the impediment that now represents for the needed ROI for any alternate.

Down the last 20-years or so, I don't know how many times it has appeared that the European Union (especially) has interpreted PTWs as part of the problem rather than the solution. That, in general, has changed in the past decade because of the success that Europe's motorcycle industry trade associations and their OEM members have had in lobbying the benefits of PTWs as a forward-facing transport solution. Thanks too in no small part to a small number of enlightened elected politicians in the European Parliament.

However, until now all that good work and optimism for a bright and satisfyingly powerful sounding PTW future looked set to disappear under the weight (literally) of batteries and their (present) limitations.

For an insight into how the EU's recent volte face could play out, make haste (if you haven't read it already) to page 64 (the outside back cover) of this edition and just think for a while about the possible implications that this change in direction could have for our industry.

Ironically, it has largely been pressure from the German automotive industry, placed on the German government and passed on by them to the European Union, that has forced regulators admitting eFuels into the previously too limited range of green transport solutions permitted in their post 2035 new auto and moto model landscape. Though not arrived at principally for reasons of enlightened thinking, it is nonetheless not a trivial development.

From the outside looking in, it has long appeared that the German government is one that just cannot entirely climb out of the pockets of the German automotive industry - regardless of how hard the present left leaning, green shaded three-way progressive alliance coalition has tried (which is, actually, not very hard, truth be told).

Either way, the undoubted sway that Berlin has over Brussels has forced the EU to compromise. Hurrah!

There are a couple of other very important strategic news stories bubbling under at this time. The latest Japanese 'Big Four' collaboration - this time the formation of a Hydrogen Power research consortium, and what is happening this year to the exhaust anti-tampering regulations in Europe.

We didn't have room for either of those this month but be afraid - future editions are available!

Meanwhile, back at the 'day job' - have you seen Harley's share price? It isn't good. Did you read my channel stuffing remarks last month? As Jochen Zeitz comments in Harley's statement about having to slow down production again (page 8) he, in effect, says that it's a good job the inventory pipeline is full. With Harley unit sales in the 11,000 range in April - some 20 plus percent down on April 2022 - it's a shame that dealers can't sell that inventory as fast as H-D ships it.

Peter Starr

Peter Starr 1942-2023

AMD was saddened to hear of the passing of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Peter Starr - motorcycle racer, author, TV producer and filmmaker, whose work includes dozens of productions about motorcycles and motorcycling. Starr passed away on July 3 at the age of 80.

Born on Nov 2, 1942, in Coventry, England, Starr began riding motorcycles at a young age, later raced Nortons, Ariels and Triumphs, and then turned that passion into a four-year job with Triumph in the early 1960s.

Starr moved to the United States in the mid-1960s working as a DJ and later in record production before returning to his love of motorcycles as a filmmaker. His first film, titled 'Bad Rock', was funded by Hodaka and Penzoil, and was distributed across the United States. Later, his film 'Take it to the Limit' would become his most famous creation, starring riders at the top of their sport and a string of hit songs on its soundtrack.

Along with his films, Starr also directed over 50 television specials on motorcycling and motorsports. It was Starr who had the first film camera mounted on a motorcycle, and later did the first live broadcast from a motorcycle in competition for ABC's Wide World of Sports in 1985 at the AMA National on the Du Quoin Magic Mile.

In recent years, Starr became a global ambassador for motorcycling, and was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2017.

"Peter was a fixture in the motorcycling community for decades," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. "He was a man who always strove to highlight our sport to both enthusiasts and non-riders, and was also incredibly supportive of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and its mission. His energy and positive outlook on the sport we all love will be missed."

Starr battled cancer for many years. Despite his diagnosis, he lived a full and vibrant life and remained tirelessly active in motorcycling: "When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, I spent a lot of time thinking about dealing with aging, and I concluded that it required living a purposeful life.

"For me, motorcycles were always a theme," he continued. "The concept for me became looking forward, and creating something with motorcycling that was very important to me. Being a rider gives you something to always look forward to."

Sturgis Hall of Fame 2023

Roland Sands, Chris Callan and Burt Munro Among Sturgis Hall of Fame 2023 Inductees 

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum has posted the list of inductees to its Hall of Fame, and industry stalwarts Roland Sands, Jay Allen, Chris Callan and Scott Jacobs are among those being honored this year.

Roland Sands has built an impressive business career after his time as a motorcycle racer - a career in which he has been a motorcycle designer, parts and accessory designer, manufacturer and distributor, event organizer, race promotor, brand ambassador and more - including, in 2019, Grand Marshall of the Sturgis Rally.

Roland Sands

The son of Perry and Nancy Sands, founders of Performance Machine, Roland was born into the Harley market and has been a leading catalyst for the emergence of new styles and the new post-Boomer era of industry design values.

Roland won the AMA 250 National Championship in 1998 and founded Roland Sands Design (RSD) in 2005. With his sister Summer, he has built a creative design powerhouse that did much to shape the industry's design oeuvre, and has guaranteed a second generation of the Sands family at the leading edge of market trends. He has collaborated with many motorcycle manufacturers, building custom and concept bikes and parts collaborations. In 2015, Roland pioneered the Super Hooligan National Championship Series.

At a time when the pressure has been on printed media of all kinds, not least the once rich line-up of print magazines in the motorcycle industry, Chris Callan has defied trend, establishing Cycle Source as a respected and popular consumer lifestyle magazine leader with impeccable taste for featured custom bikes.

Chris has been involved with motorcycling for over thirty years. He started with off-road racing and once he got his motorcycle license at age 16, he never looked back. He started Cycle Source Magazine in March 1997 from his motorcycle shop in Pennsylvania, with a borrowed computer and a throwaway camera. 

He has grown Cycle Source into a national publication and understands how to bring the stories, lifestyle and history to life. His weekly "Shop Talk" show on Facebook mixes motorcycling news, interviews and events. Chris is also a well-known custom bike builder and musician. 

Everyone has heard of The Broken Spoke Saloon, right? Jay Allen created the legendary Sturgis Rally venue and pioneered the concept of interactive motorcycling entertainment. Passionate about the motorcycle lifestyle and sport, the past 25 years has seen him build and establish gathering places that appeal to a broad range of riders.

Jay also holds no fewer than 52 land speed records and is a great ambassador for the sport - indeed he will be chasing more records at Bonneville a couple of weeks after Sturgis this year.

Chris Callan

Scott Jacobs opened his first gallery in New Jersey, initially featuring works by other artists. After receiving an easel and acrylics as a gift, he experimented with several styles before settling into his signature style of Photorealism.

In 1993 Scott became Harley-Davidson's first Official Licensed Artist, with his painting "Live to Ride". He has created artwork for both the Sturgis Rally and Daytona Bike Week. Scott's artwork first featured on the Sturgis Rally's magazine in 1995, and that tradition continues to this day. Scott is also a licensed artist for Ford, Chevrolet, Elvis Presley Enterprises and The Marilyn Monroe Estate.

Other Class of 2023 honorees include the legendary 1981 Moto des Nations Team USA. Made up of team riders from the Honda factory, the team included Chuck Sun, Donnie Hansen, Danny Laporte and Johnny "O'Show" O'Mara. The team managers were motocross legends Roger Decoster and Dave Arnold. 

This 1981 team overcame seemingly impossible odds, shocking the motorcycling world and making history with America's first victory at the Motocross des Nations since the annual event started in 1947. They won the Trophy des Nations (250 cc) on September 6, 1981, at Lommel, in Belgium and then the Motocross des Nations (500 cc) a week later in Germany.

Burt Munro

There are five additional, specialty Hall of Fame Awards - the Arlen Ness Lifetime Achievement Award, The Founders Award, the Freedom Fighter award, the JC 'Pappy' Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award and the Kickstand Down posthumous recognition award. 

This year the Museum has made three such awards with motorcycle right's activist Russel Radke of Nevada receiving the Freedom Fighter award, legendary New Zealander and Indian streamliner World Landspeed record chaser Bert Munro is recognized with the Kickstands Down award and, fittingly, the Arlen Ness Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Arlen's life-long friend and fellow shaper of the custom motorcycle industry we know today - Donnie Smith.